Operation #6 Another attempt at reconnection

We’d been counting down to the 10th May, the date Clara’s reconnection surgery was pencilled in for. But the counting can stop now – her operation has been moved forward… To today!

Clara’s skin around her stoma has been getting increasingly worse. The acidic intestinal waste continued to leak under her ostomy bag, sitting on her skin, burning it. It’s red raw, regularly bleeding. No matter what we, or any of the specialist stoma team have tried, there’s simply no solution but reconnection.

Originally the benefit to waiting longer before operating was to allow us to continue priming the bowel with recycling. Unfortunately, as this too was cause more skin irritation, the benefit to waiting has now diminished.

It’s a blessing really – Clara’s skin couldn’t take much more without further damage. It causes her obvious pain as on rare occasions she’d scream and start sobbing, clearly more acid was pooling on her already raw skin.

Mr Lee has a window of opportunity in the surgical list today. So we all decided to go ahead – the plan is Clara will go down to theatre this afternoon.

The risks are similar to those the last time reconnection was attempted. But this time the most obvious weak point (the previous 1.5cm of bowel kept and added back in) has been removed. However, Clara’s colon has never had to work in the last 15 weeks, other than the recycling we attempted.

I won’t dwell on what happened last time as this is a new opportunity, a new reconnection, a new chance.

Whilst I know I’ll be anxious for the next week, waiting to see how the operation goes and then how Clara recovers, I know it has to happen.

It’s another huge step towards home.

We’ve been practicing ‘home’ life and I’m increasingly looking forward to settling Clara into the real world, away from the hospital.

I’ve not really felt this before, I’ve always felt safe knowing we still had time in the hospital. And yet recently, our time outside of the hospital has become increasingly comfortable. Clara now loves her bouncer at home in the living room, meaning I can strap her in and watch her bounce away whilst I enjoy a hot cup of tea (a real rarity!) made in my own kitchen that only just got finished in time before Clara came into the world. What’s not ‘normal maternity leave’ about that? We have been meeting friends for lunch, walking around Blenheim, taking trips to IKEA and even work! I’ve had a taste for a real life with Clara – and it’s perfect.

And having seen the same nurses daily for months now, some are more like friends – I know we’ll keep in touch. They’ve changed our life so much, they’ll always have a place in our thoughts and we’ll always be thankful for them. The nurses, along with Mr Lee and Natalie, have given Clara a wonderful opportunity at life.

Yesterday I bought Clara this t-shirt. Incredibly fitting for my little medical miracle and what’s about to happen today:

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